Hello, I have been trying to find the best magnet sheets with enough strength to hold a puppet with rare earth magnets. I of course don't want the sheet to be too strong, but the magnet strips that I find in art and crafts stores are too weak to hold event Link (who at the time is my smallest complete puppet). Any suggestions on the magnets?

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Your sheet doesn't need to be magnetic, your puppets feet need to be.

I don't know if there is an easy way to make normal metal magnetic yourself, but some people embed a rare earth magnet in the foot and sculpt over it to hide it. My professionally-made armatures had magnetic feet already, but one of them didn't, and so it didn't stand upright with the magnets. 

So in short: you just need a normal metal sheet, any of which will do. Usually people use perforated steel as it gives them the option for actual tie-down with screws.
But you need to make your puppet's feet magnetic, either by embedding a rare earth magnet in the sculpted feet or find another way to make the normal armature magnetic.

You might want to consider just using normal tie-downs instead.
 

Another option would be to use a thin metal surface on your set, and use rare earth magnets underneath to hold the puppet's feet.  This approach has the advantages of A) allowing you to use larger, more powerful magnets that would be difficult to conceal inside the puppet, and B) it gives you the option to take one of the magnets away, allowing the puppet's foot to be positioned close to (but not touching) the ground.

Unfortunately, it looks like http://animationtoolkit.co.uk/ is down for maintenance right now, but IIRC they've got some nice rare earth magnets attached to handles (Bare magnets can get tough to work with directly, as they tend to get stuck to each other).

EDIT: When the site comes back up, looks like the magnetic tie-downs are here.  Here's a cached version of the page you can see for now.

I've heard it's actually preferrable to not put magnets in the puppet's feet but just use metal in the feet and place rare-earth magnets underneath the set to pull on the feet. The reason for this is because if you have magnets inside the feet and your set-top is steel, then as soon as the foot is anywhere near the table it will snap suddenly against it (and you'd better hope you kept your fingers or anything breakable out of the way!)

That would make it hard to animate those positions as the foot is close to the table - lifting or coming down. But if you use magnets from under the set then you can have them under one foot but not the other (not sure how hard it would pull on that other foot anyway though).

You can get rare earth magnets in a circular donut shape, with a hole in the middle. This is the recommended shape to get - then you can place a handle up through the middle to make it easier to disengage the powerful magnets from underneath the set. 

Here's a supplier: http://www.kjmagnetics.com/products.asp?cat=16

You'd want some of the larger discs - from near the bottom of the page - maybe a little larger than the penny, up to maybe twice as big around as it. I've seen people stack several of these discs together and run a wooden dowel up the middle - maybe they glued the dowel in? Or it might have been a long screw with a pair of washers and nuts to sandwich the magnetic discs. Not sure if you'd need to stack them though - I hear these things are really powerful and you need to be careful so they don't snap together on your finger. 

* edit - I see I was beaten to the punch by Mr Nicol... 

Sorry, I wasn't thinking clearly. I did mean that you can have the rare earth magnet underneath the set but your puppet must be made of a metal that responds to it (which is practically every household metal). Mine were made of aluminium which obviously doesn't respond to magnets, hence they had to have different feet.

I can't believe it took me this long to figure out they weren't magnetic, but just plain steel while the rest was made of aluminium. 

Anyways listen to these two men: you just need normal reasonable strong but not too thick steel and put the magnets underneath to support the puppet. If the puppet had to stand on one foot, we often stacked up our smaller magnets to create a stronger pull from below. 

Here's a pic of one of my set's steel plate before it was covered with a (thin) layer of cloth as carpet:

One of the animators working to move the magnets under the set:

You can see the steel poking from underneath the "tiles" (printed on paper):

The sets were framed as such that you could put your hand through the frame and move the magnets under the plate:

Wow Bianca, you never fail to impress! You seem to have done it all, and done it well. And have pictures! 

Ther'no solution. This sheets are REALLY too weak.  I use a thin metal plate, neodymium under the plate, and ...neodymium into the puppet's shoes.  Then it's works. My puppets are very small (5-6 inch"), but evenly they stand on only by this double system.

Which sheets are too weak? If you're magnet is strong enough it goes through quite thick metal sheets. Mine were at least 3-5mm thick.

marina papa said:

Ther'no solution. This sheets are REALLY too weak.  I use a thin metal plate, neodymium under the plate, and ...neodymium into the puppet's shoes.  Then it's works. My puppets are very small (5-6 inch"), but evenly they stand on only by this double system.

Sorry. I tried replay to the first post. This is not my native  language and I made "blur".

Marina was referring to the original post, in which the poster was asking about magnetic sheet (refrigerator-magnet type material) for his puppet's feet. 

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